New Heat Exchanger Design Could Help Arctic Communities

New Heat Exchanger Design Could Help Arctic Communities

Heat exchangers move heat between liquids and gases. They are used in so many of our devices that if we could make them more efficient, it would save about 20% of all energy globally and about $1 trillion per year.

One application particularly relevant to Alaska is the use of waste heat from diesel engines to drive an absorption chiller that actually creates cooling. This cooling can be used for seafood processing, ice rink cooling, and refrigerators and freezers. The system is used in Alaska to create ice for fishing vessels and to keep the Chena Hot Springs Ice Museum frozen year-round.

ACEP’s David Denkenberger’s recent article on his patented expanded microchannel heat exchanger was just accepted in the journal Heat Transfer Engineering. The paper uses Matlab to model the heat transfer in a heat exchanger when not all the channels get the same amount of flow.

This project is part of the ARCTIC Program, an initiative supported by the Office of Naval Research. This work was also supported by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The soon-to-be-published paper is titled “Finite Difference Heat Exchanger Model: Flow Maldistribution with Thermal Coupling.” Denkenberger’s co-authors are M. Brandemuehl, J. Zhai and J. Pearce.


Chena Hot Spring's Ice Museum is kept frozen through an absorption chiller designed and implemented by ACEP’s Gwen Holdmann and chiller manufacturerer Energy Concepts.